Mumbai: In an unprecedented poll request, Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) President Raj Thackeray on Thursday appealed to the people to make his party “a strong and formidable Opposition” in the Maharashta legislature after the October 21 Assembly elections.
Addressing a public rally in Bandra late this evening, the MNS chief candidly conceded that his party did not have sufficent strength to dream of “forming the government”, so would remain in the Opposition benches.
“For this, I urge you to support and elect all my candidates, to help us become a powerful opposition party. All my boys have a burning fire in their bellies to do something for you, they will question the government on its assurances and demand answers… The ruling party legislators always keep silent,” Thackeray said in his brief but pointedly effective speech lasting around 15 minutes.
He reiterated that a strong Opposition is necessary for nurturing democracy and it is only the opposition legislators “who will speak up for the masses and help deliver justice” to the people.
The MNS chief said that during every election, the government keeps showering promises and assurances, but then nothing happens after the polls.
“What about the promised jobs for the youth, farmers are crying, businesses are suffering… Who will question the government on all this? It is only a strong Opposition which will work in the public interest, highlight your issues to the rulers,” Thackeray said.
The MNS chief said that over the next one week or so, he would be addressing over a dozen rallies across different districts on the same theme, seeking peoples’ support to be elected as “a strong opposition party”.
This was the MNS’s first rally for the elections in which it is independently contesting 102 seats – mostly in its strongholds like Mumbai, Thane, Pune, Nashik and surroundings.
The party’s inaugural rally scheduled in Pune on Wednesday (October 9) had to be cancelled following torrential rains and a power breakdown.
During the Lok Sabha 2019 polls campaign, Thackeray had created huge waves with his trademark rallies and the ‘Laav Re Video’ (Play The Video), though it did not contest.
This time, the Maharashtra competition for the 288 seats is tough with several groups and parties in the fray.
Besides the MNS, there is the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party-Shiv Sena’s ‘Maha-Yuti’, opposition Congress-Nationalist Congress Party’s ‘Maha-Aghadi’, Prakash Ambedkar’s Bahujan Vanchit Aghadi, the Aam Aadmi Party, the Vidarbha Sangharsh Samiti and other forces vying for the electorate’s attention.